Michelle Beadle, a Jewish woman from NYC is a great friend of Billboards for Christ, Inc. She has been used of the Lord to bring many to have a personal relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Michelle’s spiritual journey is quite interesting and she has graciously allowed us to post it here. Here is her story.
Michelle is of German Jewish ancestry and a first generation American. A friend of the family did a study of her ancestry and concluded that her mother's family lived in Spain during the Spanish inquisition and fled from there to a city in Germany called Schaumberg, and then moved on to Giessen, Moers and Stuttgart. Her family on both her mother and father's side was well do to until Hitler took everything they owned away. They barely escaped Nazi Germany. The Gestapo came to arrest both of her grandfathers, but by the grace of God they were able to hide away and escape the concentration camps. Both families finally arrived in the United States in 1939. Her mother’s family was sponsored for immigration to the U.S. when a former patient of her grandfather's implored the wealthy Jewish attorney for whom she worked to put up a large sum of money so her grandparent's and their children could immigrate to the United States. A relative on her father’s side sponsored them for immigration.
Michelle shares that growing up in a German Jewish family presumed considerable involvement in synagogue life. She writes:
I grew up attending Congregation Habonim, one of two synagogues in Manhattan founded by German Jewish refugees of the Holocaust. We attended Friday night services on a regular basis and celebrated all of the Jewish holidays. I have wonderful memories from childhood to adulthood of Passover Seders celebrated with our extended family. Although at the time I reached the age of 12, girls were not yet being Bat Mitzvahed in our congregation, I was confirmed at the age of 15. My father served on the board of trustees of our congregation, I was youth group President, a member of an Israeli dance troupe, attended Jewish summer camp (Joseph Eisner Camp Institute for Living Judaism) and traveled numerous times to Israel.
Both of my parents were agnostic so God was not discussed in our home. Yet, one beautiful starry night while I was a camper at Joseph Eisner I remember thinking about God for the first time. We had all gathered together in a circle singing songs of praise to God (I lift up mine eyes unto the mountains, from whence from whence will my help come. My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.). I remember thinking there had to be a God because of the beauty around us. And then I remember wondering about Him. "Who is He? Is He just someone out there in the sky or some power or force? He must be there but I don't know what or who He is."
As I went on to college I had a suite mate, who attended services every Sunday very faithfully. Seeing her dedication made me wonder why she wanted to go to church every Sunday? I just couldn't understand how anyone would willingly go week after week and actually enjoy it. This roommate never said anything to me about her beliefs, but somehow her faithfulness to church attendance convicted me of my ignorance about the Bible. So I enrolled one semester in a class on the Bible but was sorely disappointed in the contents of the course because it treated the Bible merely as another literary piece and not as a spiritual roadmap for my life. And so my thoughts of the bible ended.
Three years later as I began my senior year at Cornell University a Jewish friend of mine told me about a great book he had just read called the Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsay. He suggested I read it. Initially I took his suggestion with a grain of salt and went about my business. Another month went by and I ran into him again. He told me about the book once again and insisted that I should read it. So, I headed immediately to the campus bookstore and picked up a copy. With amazement I read in this book that Jesus was Jewish. I grew up thinking He was Catholic. The only thing I knew of him was a statue in a Catholic Cemetery we passed by every Friday night as we drove to synagogue in Manhattan. This statue was of Jesus with his hands outstretched. Not until years later was I able to express the feelings I had whenever we passed that statue. I remember thinking that it was the most beautiful sight on our car ride and I always anxiously awaited coming to that landmark as we drove to services.
Hal Lindsay also wrote that Jesus was a direct descendant of King David, born into a Jewish family. I also read that a time was coming when the world would be judged. During that time, those whose lives were not right with God would suffer terrible torments. A scripture which particularly stood out for me was as follows:
"And the first angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth; and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit... . And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months; and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them."
When I read about this I prayed for the first time in my life. Somehow I knew I was not ready to face God. Some how I knew that if I lived through this time, I would be one of those who would be tormented, because I knew I did not have the seal of God on my forehead. I asked God to show me if what this man had written about in this book was true. I could not trust what this man had written but knew I could trust God to show me the truth and I would believe only what He showed me.
A few weeks later I met a woman who was to become my closest friend. The kind of friend I had always dreamed of having. She was like a sister to me. This woman listened to me like no one else. She had such empathy and compassion and I knew that what I felt she could completely understand. I had never met anyone before who could relate to me on such a deep level. It just so happened that as social work majors, our field placement directors were husband and wife. Malaer happened to be placed in a field position for our social work practicum in a Head Start program. I had my placement at Tioga County Hospital and Nursing Home. In the beginning of December we both attended a Tioga County Human Services planning meeting and after the morning sessions sat together for lunch and were joined by a woman who was a resident of Tioga County. She introduced herself to us and we began to talk. After a short while Betty began to explain to me that I needed to have Jesus in my life. I looked at Malaer and somehow realized that she must believe this too even though she had never uttered a word to me about her beliefs. I was about to tell her off when a still small voice spoke to me and said, listen to her, she loves you, she is your best friend. Malaer then told me her story. When she was 14 her aunt did the unthinkable. As a committed Hindu she came to recognize that Jesus was the One true God. She turned from Hinduism to Jesus, shared this with Malaer and Malaer did the same. Now Malaer was telling me that I needed to acknowledge Him as well. Because of the love I had experienced from Malaer, I knew believing in Jesus was right, and I prayed a short prayer acknowledging Him as Messiah. As we left the conference that day I felt as if I were walking in a cloud of peace. I had, after all just met the Prince of Peace. The prophet Isaiah wrote of this One to come: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders. And His name shall be called, wonderful, counselor, the mighty God the everlasting father the prince of peace." (Isaiah 9:6)
After returning to the Cornell campus that night I had the wonderfulexperience of singing in a concert which had been re-scheduled three times. We sang Handel's Messiah, and all of a sudden I understood what the words were all about. I understood, standing on the platform in the University Center, that Handel had actually taken the words for his Messiah straight out of the book of Isaiah and suddenly I understood exactly who the Messiah was, He was Y'shua (Jesus). And to this day no one can tell me God didn't orchestrate the re-scheduling of that concert so I could sing it the night of my salvation.
Needless to say, my world was turned upside down. I saw life from a completely new perspective. My spiritual search had ended. I finally knew who God was. He was real, someone who could be understood, and someone who wanted to be close to me, who knew my every thought and would answer my every prayer. Although my life was turned upside down I had the assurance that no matter what troubles would come, in the end everything would be okay. Jesus himself said, "in the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
As I returned to synagogue with my family after embracing Y’shua, I was overwhelmed with an understanding of what our services are all about. As I opened the Siddur and read the Psalms of David which are such an integral part of our services, and as I read the Shema and its passages I suddenly understood what they really meant. Prior to then it was all a ritual, a recitation of familiar prayers and songs. But now I understood the true essence of Judaism at its core. The locus of Judaism is a personal intimate knowledge of God from the deepest recesses of our souls. "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jeremiah 31:34)
May you be blessed in reading Michelle's testimony of the Living God alive in Her life. May you be encouraged to call on the Messiah personally to reveal Himself to you!! We are praying for you and your family!! Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.Isaiah 55:6
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"Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved." "Todo aquel que invoque el nombre del Señor sera salvo." - Joel 2:32, Romans 10:13, Romanos 10:13
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